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Title: An ultra-compact x-ray free-electron laser

In the field of beam physics, two frontier topics have taken center stage due to their potential to enable new approaches to discovery in a wide swath of science. These areas are: advanced, high gradient acceleration techniques, and x-ray free electron lasers (XFELs). Further, there is intense interest in the marriage of these two fields, with the goal of producing a very compact XFEL. In this context, recent advances in high gradient radio-frequency cryogenic copper structure research have opened the door to the use of surface electric fields between 250 and 500 MV m−1. Such an approach is foreseen to enable a new generation of photoinjectors with six-dimensional beam brightness beyond the current state-of-the-art by well over an order of magnitude. This advance is an essential ingredient enabling an ultra-compact XFEL (UC-XFEL). In addition, one may accelerate these bright beams to GeV scale in less than 10 m. Such an injector, when combined with inverse free electron laser-based bunching techniques can produce multi-kA beams with unprecedented beam quality, quantified by 50 nm-rad normalized emittances. The emittance, we note, is the effective area in transverse phase space (x,px/mec) or (y,py/mec) occupied by the beam distribution, and it is relevant to more » achievable beam sizes as well as setting a limit on FEL wavelength. These beams, when injected into innovative, short-period (1–10 mm) undulators uniquely enable UC-XFELs having footprints consistent with university-scale laboratories. We describe the architecture and predicted performance of this novel light source, which promises photon production per pulse of a few percent of existing XFEL sources. We review implementation issues including collective beam effects, compact x-ray optics systems, and other relevant technical challenges. To illustrate the potential of such a light source to fundamentally change the current paradigm of XFELs with their limited access, we examine possible applications in biology, chemistry, materials, atomic physics, industry, and medicine—including the imaging of virus particles—which may profit from this new model of performing XFEL science.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
New Journal of Physics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 093067
IOP Publishing
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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A 15-μm-diam-mesa device was defined by standard planar processing including a top annular ohmic contact with a 5-μm-diam pinhole in the center to couple out enough of the internal emission for accurate free-space power measurements [4]. The emission spectra have the behavior displayed in Fig. 1(b), parameterized by bias voltage (VB). The long wavelength emission edge is at  = 1684 nm - close to the In0.53Ga0.47As bandgap energy of Ug ≈ 0.75 eV at 300 K. The spectral peaks for VB = 2.8 and 3.0 V both occur around  = 1550 nm (h = 0.75 eV), so blue-shifted relative to the peak of the “ideal”, bulk InGaAs emission spectrum shown in Fig. 1(b) [5]. These results are consistent with the model displayed in Fig. 1(c), whereby the broad emission peak is attributed to the radiative recombination between electrons accumulated on the emitter side, and holes generated on the emitter side by interband tunneling with current density Jinter. The blue-shifted main peak is attributed to the quantum-size effect on the emitter side, which creates a radiative recombination rate RN,2 comparable to the band-edge cross-gap rate RN,1. Further support for this model is provided by the shorter wavelength and weaker emission peak shown in Fig. 1(b) around = 1148 nm. Our quantum mechanical calculations attribute this to radiative recombination RR,3 in the RTD quantum well between the electron ground-state level E1,e, and the hole level E1,h. To further test the model and estimate quantum efficiencies, we conducted optical power measurements using a large-area Ge photodiode located ≈3 mm away from the RTD pinhole, and having spectral response between 800 and 1800 nm with a peak responsivity of ≈0.85 A/W at  =1550 nm. Simultaneous I-V and L-V plots were obtained and are plotted in Fig. 2(a) with positive bias on the top contact (emitter on the bottom). 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From the implicit definition of IQE in terms of i and r given above, and the fact that the recombination efficiency in In0.53Ga0.47As is likely limited by Auger scattering, this result for IQE suggests that i might be significantly high. To estimate i, we have used the experimental total current of Fig. 2(a), the Kane two-band model of interband tunneling [7] computed in conjunction with a solution to Poisson’s equation across the entire structure, and a rate-equation model of Auger recombination on the emitter side [6] assuming a free-electron density of 2×1018 cm3. We focus on the high-bias regime above VB = 2.5 V of Fig. 2(a) where most of the interband tunneling should occur in the depletion region on the collector side [Jinter,2 in Fig. 1(c)]. 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Fig. 3(b) shows the tunneling probability T according to the Kane two-band model in the three materials, In0.53Ga0.47As, GaAs, and GaN, following our observation of a similar electroluminescence mechanism in GaN/AlN RTDs (due to strong polarization field of wurtzite structures) [8]. The expression is Tinter = (2/9)∙exp[(-2 ∙Ug 2 ∙me)/(2h∙P∙E)], where Ug is the bandgap energy, P is the valence-to-conduction-band momentum matrix element, and E is the electric field. Values for the highest calculated internal E fields for the InGaAs and GaN are also shown, indicating that Tinter in those structures approaches values of ~10-5. As shown, a GaAs RTD would require an internal field of ~6×105 V/cm, which is rarely realized in standard GaAs RTDs, perhaps explaining why there have been few if any reports of room-temperature electroluminescence in the GaAs devices. [1] E.R. Brown,et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 58, 2291, 1991. [5] S. 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